Advocacy Virginia Garcia's Commitment

Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center, the largest community health center serving Washington and Yamhill counties, understands the importance of advocacy at the local, state, and federal level. 

  • National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) as an Advocacy Center of Excellence, Silver Level



Virginia Garcia is committed to empowering our staff to take on leadership roles in their community, which is why they started the RISE Program – Reach. Inspire. Support. Engage. This training program is open to any Virginia Garcia staff and focuses on topics including local politics, public speaking and interrupting racism.

Adorable RISE Photo

Public Charge

As of February 24 a new policy will impact the health and well-being of all immigrants. The policy is known as Public Charge. Below are a few critical details to know (Information via The State of Oregon) and here is a helpful handout you can share with friends and family, via Protecting Immigrant Families.

US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) encourages all those with symptoms that resemble Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) (fever, cough, shortness of breath) to seek necessary medical treatment or preventive services.  Such treatment or preventive services will not negatively affect any alien as part of a future Public Charge analysis.  Additional information can be found at the USCIS website.

What is public charge?

A Public Charge is an individual who is likely to become “primarily dependent on the government for subsistence, as demonstrated by either the receipt of public cash assistance for income maintenance, or institutionalization for long-term care at government expense.

What is changing about the qualification?

When an individual applies for Lawful Permanent Residency status (aka a “Green Card”), the US Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) evaluates whether he or she has used – or is likely to use –  certain public benefits that could make them a public charge.  If so, this is a “heavily weighted negative factor” against the applicant’s request.  As of October of 2019 the list of programs that USCIS must consider when determining if an immigrant is a public charge will significantly expand.

How are public charge decisions made?

Under the current rule, immigration officials look at all a person’s circumstances to determine if the person is likely to depend on the government for cash assistance or long-term care in the future.

As of February 24, 2020, immigration officials will also look at use of one or more of the following benefits:

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

  • Public housing or Section 8 housing assistance.
  • Non-emergency Medicaid for non-pregnant adults 21 and older (excludes new mothers for 60 days post-partum).

Immigration officials consider the person’s age, health, family and financial status, education, and skills. If the immigration official determines that the person is likely to become a public charge in the future, the official can refuse to grant the person’s application to enter the United States or get a green card.

Who is affected by public charge?

Public charge is considered only for people applying to:

 - Enter the United States
 - Extend their Visa (ie: they are already in the United States)
 - Adjust their status to become a Lawful Permanent Resident (ie: a green card holder)
 - A green card holder that leaves the United States for more than 180 consecutive days and re-enters

Who is not affected by public charge?

- U.S. citizens — both those born in the United States and those who have naturalized
- Immigrants with lawful permanent residency (i.e., green cards) including those applying for U.S. citizenship

Immigrants who are in the United States for humanitarian reasons. For example, immigrants with the following statuses are exempt from public charge:

- Asylee (including those in the process of applying)
- Temporary protected status
- Violence Against Women Act self-petitioners, with some exceptions
- T or U visa holders, in general
- Special immigrant juveniles
- Certain parolees, and several other categories of non-citizens
- Active military service members and their families.

Where can I get the most up to date information?


It is important that everyone have a firm understanding of their rights. Below are articles and links to information and resources that will help you stay up-to-date on current events and activities.

How to Be Prepared for an Immigration Raid

For more resources, visit our Health Care Matters page. Given increased enforcement activity in recent months by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), ... Read More

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) is still valid. It's difficult to predict how and when... Read More

Ways to Get Involved

Additional resources:
Immigration Counseling Service (ICS)



519 SW Park Ave., Ste. 610
Portland, OR 97205

Lutheran Community Services Northwest


605 SE Cesar E. Chavez Blvd., Portland, OR 97214
Tel: 503.731.9539
Fax: 503.233.0667

Programs offered: Asylum, Unaccompanied Minor, Cancellation
Languages: English & Español

3800 SW Cedar Hills Blvd., Suite 288
Beaverton, OR 97005
Phone: 503.924.2448

Programs Offered: Immigration Counseling and Advocacy Program; Multicultural Counseling Services

435 NE Evans, Suite A
McMinnville, OR 97128
Phone: 503.472.020

Programs Offered: A Family Place Relief Nursery, Collaborative Home Services, Counseling Programs, Family Support and Connections, Healthy Families of Yamhill County, Healthy Relationships, Immigration Counseling and Advocacy, In-Home Safety and Reunification Services, Parent Education Classes, Safe Families for Child

Other Links and Relevant Information

  • The Latino Network provides information for members of the community.

  • The National Immigration Law Center provides important information on immigration rights and is dedicated to defending and advancing the rights of low-income immigrants.

  • The ILRC (Immigrant Legal Resource Center) offers free "red cards" (know your rights cards), that can be ordered from the email provided on their website.  Here is the direct link to ordering the cards.

Statement of Nonpartisanship

Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center (VGMHC) is a private, nonprofit organization recognized as exempt from Federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. VGMHC’s mission is to provide high quality, comprehensive, and culturally appropriate primary health care to the communities of Washington and Yamhill counties with a special emphasis on migrant and seasonal farm workers and others with barriers to receiving health care.

VGMHC may take positions on or advocate with regard to public policy issues pertinent to its mission, consistent with the requirements of applicable Federal and Oregon law. However, VGMHC conducts all of its activities in an entirely nonpartisan manner. VGMHC may acknowledge the elected officials who support us, but we do not endorse, support, or oppose candidates for public office, nor do we intervene in any election on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate or political party.

Additional questions can be directed to Felicita Monteblanco, Policy and Advocacy Officer at 503.214.1650

Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center